The news is full of local and state governments trying to make ends meet. Luzerne County is raising taxes, borrowing yet more money and laying off workers to deal with years of mismanagement and the economic downturn. Mayor Tom Leighton has proposed a budget for Wilkes-Barre that increases fees and jacks up every tax that can be raised. And my little burgh of Plains Township will be increasing the property tax despite all the millions that Mohegan Sun Casino has pumped into our coffers. I have some questions about that and it will be the subject of a future post.
Mayor Lou Barletta is taking an axe to the City of Hazleton's budget trying to avoid a tax increase. He is about $900,000 short of balancing the city's $9 million budget and is proposing to close the gap by canceling a 3% pay raise for employees and requiring them to contribute toward their health care plan. He is also proposing going after people who have not paid the garbage fee and businesses that have not paid the mercantile tax.
With all these hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown around by the Feds to bail out banks, Wall Street investment firms and Auto companies a few dollars to help out our local governments is not an unreasonable request.
Note: I had a chat with Mayor Lou yesterday and he agreed to an interview in the first week of the new year. Send me your questions for his Honor in the comments or email. I'll put up a reminder before we meet. Please keep it clean people.
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